8
Nov

A dose of reality as we head out

8 duffle bags and 8 backpacks wait in our schoolroom.

We have maxed out our big 12 passenger and will be having a friend not only drive us to the airport, but also towing our utility trailer behind us with our luggage as well as my parents’ luggage and 3 strollers.  Moments like this make me realize we have a larger than typical family.  Funnily enough, someone seems like they are missing.
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Nw for the dose of reality.  Little Theodore’s photos haven’t been shared a lot by us.  I know it’s a little strange for those who have walked with us through our other adoptions.  Truth be told his first photos just made us heartbreakingly sad.  9 months old and 9 pounds.  Red eyes from crying.  Unable to sit.  A long list of expensive lab tests had been run.  His stated diagnosis was clear cut in one respect and very dire in another.  He was not meeting milestones, nor was he ever expected to, according to one respected professional who looked at his medical file for us.

And yet we sent in our letter seeking to adopt him and make him our son.

Why?

Because he’s worth it.  

Totally worth it.

Our agency director went looking for an update.  She called his orphanage and found that he had been transferred to a special medical foster home run by a NGO (non-governmental organization) in the same province. We were thrilled!  His pictures show a very serious little face, but he is now nearly 26 months old and he has gained 10 pounds and 10 inches.

We aren’t sure what his medical future will hold, but we do know that God woke us up to love him unconditionally, to fight for him, to give him a place to belong.  We have several medical teams available to us here in North America and once we are home with him we will pursue all of our options to get him the best treatment we can.

 

And we have been given a little glimpse into his personality.

Theodore belly laughs when he is tickled!

 How great is that?!

As we leave tomorrow please pray for us about the following:

*easy travel (all parents will understand the full depth of our request!)

*that Theodore’s heart will be prepared in whatever way it can be for the enormous life altering changes about to occur.  Adoption, while redemptive, is still trauma.

*the hearts of our Chinese born children who are returning to their birth country.  So much processing has already occurred as we went through this preparation for this trip.  They are new ages for this homeland visit and with each new developmental stage come new ideas, memories and levels of processing.  Pray that this will be a rich time for them to see China, to know China and to love China.

*the hearts of my children not Chinese born.  They have welcomed their siblings like kings.  They have embraced their adopted country wholeheartedly.  They look at China with pride and realism and helped our other children feel brave and strong in spite of the complexity of what they are processing.  They take leadership roles with their younger siblings on all of our travels and it can be exhausting.  Pray that they would have strength beyond their years and experience.  Also, pray for their patience while trying to breach the great firewall of China in order to connect with their loved ones and peers back home. Not.even.kidding.

*Health.  Stephen and I have been trying to get healthier over the past six months knowing this was coming.  We are on a continuing journey with this, but I pray that God would honour our attempts and keep our backs strong, our stomachs ironclad and our sleep deep (even if only for a few short hours – haha!).

*for my parents.  They come with us on these trips and there is very little glory in it.  It is not how most couples would choose to spend their empty nest or retirement vacations, but they do it without any complaint about missing the actual tourist areas, grumpy grandchildren (and, ahem, children), and enormous piles of luggage and children attracting stares and stopping traffic everywhere we go.  Please pray for their health and that they would be able to enjoy their time away in spite of the busy schedule.

*for Stephen & I.  It’s physically exhausting, but it’s also emotionally taxing.  I’ve cried more in the past few days than I have in, oh, about two years.  Adoption does that in the final days before we leave.  Pray that I would hear God prompting me to be quiet as Steve leads us and that I would listen more to Him rather than trying to control each and every detail.  Truthfully, that is my downfall.  And pray that Stephen wouldn’t run down to far as he tries to juggle all of us and be emotionally available to all of our many and varied needs.

And thank you, each and every one, who has offered to pray for us.  We’ll be thanking God for you all too!

19
Oct

A New Week

D&D.  Stephen & James broke out a new campaign tonight and had Faith join them.  Something about needing more characters to fight monsters alongside them or something.  It was so nice tonight to feel like we could blog and play.  Yay for sleeping toddlers!

D&D. Stephen & James broke out a new campaign tonight and had Faith join them. Something about needing more characters to fight monsters alongside them or something. It was so nice tonight to feel like we could blog and play. Yay for sleeping toddlers!

I bought some new entertainment this week.  Grace, Garnet and Samuel spent quite a bit of time playing together.  The time away is (as always!) bonding them closer.

I bought some new entertainment this week. Grace, Garnet and Samuel spent quite a bit of time playing together. The time away is (as always!) bonding them closer.

Oh Chick-Fil-A - I so do love your yummy grilled wraps and BBQ sauce.

Oh Chick-Fil-A – I so do love your yummy grilled wraps and BBQ sauce.

Shoo Fly Pie.  Samuel and Isaiah spent one evening practicing saying that.  :)  Yummy, but super densely sweet!

Shoo Fly Pie. Samuel and Isaiah spent one evening practicing saying that. :) Yummy, but super densely sweet!

I spent many hours holding Isaiah upright to keep him comfortable.  He was so swollen form the waist down after his surgery.  Can you see how his feet are totally opposite to how they were when we left home a month ago?  Amazing!  Plus, who doesn't love the striped casts?

I spent many hours holding Isaiah upright to keep him comfortable. He was so swollen form the waist down after his surgery. Can you see how his feet are totally opposite to how they were when we left home a month ago? Amazing! Plus, who doesn’t love the striped casts?

It rained so hard that the roof in our century plus house leaked - fortunately, only into the master shower.

It rained so hard that the roof in our century plus house leaked – fortunately, only into the master shower.

Last week.  Oh, last week.

We all just felt like we were barely holding on.  But we made it.  We made it.

Isaiah did his semi-retreat tonight as we readied him for bed and prepared for tomorrow at the hospital.  But he had just had a really, really normal sort of day, and it wasn’t more than a minute or so and he settled in for sleep  This weekend just got better and better.  We slept, ate, played, caught up on some schoolwork.  Stephen’s back is even unknotting little by little.

So thankful to head into this week feeling like we have a bit of margin.  Hoping that when he realizes that he won’t be having surgery, just cast changes and brace fittings, he’ll settle in to his routine there.  His routine involves a lot of unhappiness, but it is familiar by now and hopefully he’ll be able to process that.

The other kids are really doing so much better.  Colds have passed. Play has resumed and they are talking about things they want to do. All good things.

Surgery weeks are always tough but this one seemed to pile it on, but we weren’t alone.  I have been so thankful for friends and family who came alongside us these past days.  You all mean so much to us.  When we felt at our most exhausted and stretched, you kept us focused on the fact that we weren’t walking through this alone.

Please keep on praying for Isaiah’s heart.  While his body seems like the most vulnerable part of him, his sensitive spirit is struggling to hold on.

My prayer this week has been thankfulness for God’s care for my little boy.  Just like Mephibosheth, God hasn’t forgotten my Isaiah. Not for one day of his life. He took a little boy from a rural area in China and brought him through a series of seemingly random events to a family in Canada, and is being treated by two of the foremost teams of specialists for his arthrogryposis in the whole world.  How can I doubt His care for me too?  His goodness in our exhaustion? His tenderness in my need to control?  And for those scholars out there that would like to point out the fact that this passage illustrates a common middle eastern tradition of restitution, that is true. But to me, he was a man whom everyone had forgotten.  Maybe even, Mephibosheth, thought he was forgotten.  But he didn’t escape God’s notice.  Nope. he was brought to the forefront of the king’s household and cared for with honour for the rest of his life.  I take so much joy in these words.  God knows our needs.  We aren’t journeying alone through life.  As long as we draw breath, His eye is on us and our story is not over.  Good stuff to contemplate, yes?

2 Samuel (2 Samuel 9:1-13):

9 David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”

2 Now there was a servant of Saul’s household named Ziba. They summoned him to appear before David, and the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?”

“At your service,” he replied.

3 The king asked, “Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?”

Ziba answered the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is lame in both feet.”

4 “Where is he?” the king asked.

Ziba answered, “He is at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar.”

5 So King David had him brought from Lo Debar, from the house of Makir son of Ammiel.

6 When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honor.

David said, “Mephibosheth!”

“At your service,” he replied.

7 “Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.”

8 Mephibosheth bowed down and said, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?”

9 Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul’s steward, and said to him, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. 10 You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master’s grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table.” (Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.)

11 Then Ziba said to the king, “Your servant will do whatever my lord the king commands his servant to do.” So Mephibosheth ate at David’s[a] table like one of the king’s sons.

12 Mephibosheth had a young son named Mika, and all the members of Ziba’s household were servants of Mephibosheth. 13 And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king’s table; he was lame in both feet.

14
Oct

Surgery tomorrow and a reality check

We head out around 4:30 tomorrow morning for Isaiah’s tenotomies (achilles heel releases and possibly hip tendon releases – to be decided in the OR). We are blessed that our doctor decided to do it at 7:30pm last night and has him booked in first thing Wednesday morning.This is what we came for, so onward we go.

Things to pray for?

Peace. That we would receive the peace that God has waiting for us. We are not doing so great at receiving. It’s a moment by moment act of the will, and well, that doesn’t sound too peaceful does it?

Isaiah. He has a lot of bruising on his feet. The casting is getting tougher and tougher.  He is fighting even me now. I’m his soft spot and he’s stopped receiving comfort on my terms.  I have to hold the line with him while pouring on the compassion.  (No one slept ALL night last night.)  His heel bones have always been really, really high, making his heel pads super soft and spongy.  This will allow his heel bone to drop and gain flexion on his foot pad.  His tenotomies were not successful in China and we knew we had to go with this type of procedure versus the one offered to us in Portland in order to try to prevent irreparable damage, but it is still risky because of the prior failures.  We are believing God’s care over Isaiah.  He is so precious to Him and we are doing the best we can as parents to choose wisely, but at the end of it all, it is up to God as to His plan for Isaiah’s walking.  Of course we ask and believe that he may walk here on earth, but if not in the now it does not lessen his importance to God.  We can’t explain all of this to him and it is tough to see him feeling betrayed when he begs me to make it stop.  I choose to accept God’s care for him in this.  It’s too big for me to try and process on my own.

Stephen.  He has back trouble from a multitude of things in his teens, but the stress and long hours driving has blown it to pieces.  He spent last night on the floor.  He’s just spent the past couple hours at urgent care and now he’ll be on meds so strong that he can not drive for the next week.  He’s frustrated, in agony and tired and there have been headaches at work.  On the plus side, I found us a network chiropractor nearby.  We’ll give that a try tomorrow.

The kids as a herd.  They are managing to zone out on copious amounts of screen time.  We catch schoolwork as we can and try to offer options for something other than a screen.  Reality is though, they are tired of it all but the least affected because, hey!, what’s not to like about screens? For now.  Perhaps I need prayer that this enjoyment will last until we get a breather.  This is only a season has become my chant.

James.  Trying to cover for us as we run hither and yon.  Also trying to keep up with his college courses.  It’s a lot.  He’s tired.

Faith.  She tends towards internalizing her stress at the best of times.  She has had a bump in her back reappear.  It is the same bump that she had as an infant and the one my brother-in-law (a network chiropractor) fixed when she was tiny.  She’s hurting.  hopeful that the chiropractor can offer some help tomorrow.

Grace, Garnet and Samuel.  They are doing really well.  Okay, they are exhausted from not sleeping last night and they are getting over their colds, but they are doing well at their schoolwork and enjoying the downtime.  We have to keep drawing them out when we get home, but overall they have done alright considering the upheaval.

Colds.  Each of us has had one form or the other.  I’ve been chugging greens and Achillea, but the rest of the family turns their nose up at them.  I was smugly healthy, but started the ay with quite a scratchy throat.  So far so good.  I’ll keep on with the Achillea.

And me.  I’m nervous about driving into the city for the surgery tomorrow.  I have a feeling the ride home will be tough.  I will probably ask James to come with and try to help Isaiah on the way back to the house.  They will do his casting post surgery while he is under, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be happy on his way home.  The traffic is so much more aggressive here.  I am thankful we drive a tank, but the speeds are always higher than posted (120-140 miles per hour).  And people don’t often signal.  And they tailgate.  A lot.  Saying this stuff, giving it over to God to deal with and choosing to accept His peace instead of the anxiety.

Just keeping it very, very real.

 

26
Sep

Coal Miner’s Daughter

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(Don’t mind the upside down photos, I’ll fix them later.)

Peoria, Illinois to Steubenville, Ohio

So technically we have been driving through a lot of urban sprawl but for some reason all day long I’ve had “Coal Miner’s Daughter” in my head. (Wasn’t Loretta Lynn from Kentucky??)  Anyway, in the irony that is my life, what did we pass on our way here tonight?  A HUGE coal refinery. It was awe inspiring to drive past it’s huge lights and towering smelter (?).  Actuallseasy a little frightening because on first appearance it seemed to appear out of no where.  Kind of freaky cool.

Lots of hours in the van again. We met some really interesting people at each of our pit stops. Real characters.

I like chatting with people in settings totally foreign to me (odd but true). This trip has proven that most people just want to share a bit about themselves and hear a bit in return.  We’re all pretty curious and when you get right down to it most people are more than willing to share a smile or share a moment. I think it’s one of my favourite things about travelling.  Now when I think of South Dakota or Illinois I have that cast of characters to hang memories on.

The kids played a number of rounds of Bingo. Faith avoids all games like the plague and Isaiah is content to hold a card. The other four duke it out pretty fiercely. So far the wins are:

James – 11

Garnet – 8

Grace – 5

Samuel – 3

Prizes are received at stops along the way. Mostly junk food which Faith does not generally care for and Isaiah begs for until some passing sibling shares a piece of their winnings. Truth. It passes the time nicely.

We are getting close to our temporary residence now. Stephen and I are becoming more snappish and feeling more ages and pains. The reality of the next week has hit. The treatment plan or the decision to not treat Isaiah will be worked out by Monday evening.

It’s always such a mixed bag when you are raising kids with complex physical, emotional or cognitive needs. First and foremost they are your child. You cheer them, correct them, lead them and basically do life in the same way as every other family you know. But, when you are faced with a new medical procedure, a new treatment or therapy, that’s when it hits you that something big is looming.  Be it for good or bad, it looms. And I takes it’s toll on each of us in the family herd.

No matter what the outcome of the hospital visit on Monday, we’ll all be okay. We’ve done hard before and each of us has found ways to not only survive but thrive.  I guess at the bottom of it all we just wish in these moments that it wasn’t our kid facing it too. But I’d say that probably that makes us fairly normal. Average even.

So, onward we go!

As an aside, we are staying at a hotel within the grounds of a Franciscan University. It is really quite nice but between the style of the hotel and the goosebumps the coal plant gave me, I couldn’t help but think of a character out of the classic Scooby Doo characters when we met one of the staff here down the long subterranean hallway. Okay, maybe not entirely subterranean, but definitely out of the way. Stephen just shakes his head at me. Remember what I said about a cast of characters though?  It looks like I have a new one for Ohio!  😉

 

 

 

 

 

24
Sep

Small towns have the nicest people

Keystone, South Dakota to Omaha, Nebraska

A pretty long, low key day.  Drove from South Dakota, to Iowa, to Nebraska.  The highlight, not pictured, was stopping at a small town diner where the waitress fussed over us (Isaiah especially) and where a who was heading out the door after her meal ran back to the kitchen to grab me a towel when I spilled my coke all over my lap.  Apparently her boyfriend works there and so it was no big deal.  Somehow, in the process of it all I laughingly said that it only happens when the clean clothes are limited on a trip.  She agreed and said that she finds the same thing when she is travelling to take her son to Cincinnati Shriners!  Well, we had a nice camaraderie after that!

The only other tidbit was during the first hour of the day.  I brought out the Interstate Bingo cards that Stephen had bought early in the summer.  Boy did we suddenly see Grace’s head pop up out of her screen!  She was on it!  It was a rather loud and exuberant hour, and in the end, Garnet won once and James, yes, our dear eldest, won six times!  I think we need to rig it tomorrow for better odds!  Haha!

 

Good morning, Isaiah!  He LOVED the rocking chairs out front of the hotel.

Good morning, Isaiah! He LOVED the rocking chairs out front of the hotel.

How I travel.  Map book and camera.

How I travel. Map book and camera.

An Iowa sunset through the bug-kill.

An Iowa sunset.

Samuel has become very focused on colouring today.  I don't think he's coloured this much in all his prior 6 years!  He even tucks his crayon behind his ear to hold it while he adjusts his clipboard and colouring page.  VERY cute!

Samuel has become very focused on colouring today. I don’t think he’s coloured this much in all his prior 6 years! He even tucks his crayon behind his ear to hold it while he adjusts his clipboard and colouring page. VERY cute!

South Dakota.  Very flat and Saskatchewan like in the south east.

South Dakota. Very flat and Saskatchewan like in the south east.

Isaiah was pretending to nap.  All of a sudden he burst into song along with the music that was playing... with his eyes squished shut, of course.  We burst out laughing!

Isaiah was pretending to nap. All of a sudden he burst into song along with the music that was playing… with his eyes squished shut, of course. We burst out laughing!

Early pilgrimage to the van.

Early pilgrimage to the van.

Stephen reloading the van - again.

Stephen reloading the van – again.

She's a cutie.  Curious about what's in Faith's backpack?  A sketchbook and novels, naturally.

She’s a cutie. Curious about what’s in Faith’s backpack? A sketchbook and novels, naturally.

17
Sep

Landing in Newfoundland

We had taken the noon ferry from Sydney, NS to Port aux Basques, NL the night before.  Other than a variety of bed and breakfasts that advertise as being 2.5 Stars, there are two hotels right in PAB.  We basically flipped a coin and picked one. The room was fine.  The dinner service was not.  We knew to expect down home hospitality but 2.5 hours with a tired, cranky two year old stretched it a bit. Ah well, off to bed and the next morning we ate a quick peanut butter sandwich and hit the road.

I was absolutely stunned at the beauty of it all.  Honestly.  I have been so blessed to travel to a few of what I consider the world’s most picturesque places and yet I was awestruck at the wild beauty in the middle of what at first glance appears so barren.  I am writing this from Ottawa on our return trip home and still after visiting other areas, this was my second favourite day of the trip.  My most favourite day being the day after this one.

I am posting a huge amount of photos today.  I need to remember what I saw and how I felt.

 

2
Sep

Side trips

This is soooo what I was hoping for on this trip. Sleeping in a b&b next to an old cemetery (it’s freaking out the big kids). This little town (Port aux Choix( on the shores of NW side of the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland is teeny and picturesque and wonderfully friendly. So friendly the kitchen the kitchen staff at supper come out to visit and before you leave you ask to take a photo of them. The lighthouse down the gravel road behind the restaurant we ate at? Stunning. The sunset, more so. Big kids teaching little kids. Little kids urging big kids into yard games. The quote hanging in the bathroom here, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”, so familiar from our adoptions. And the photos we took. Oh my. I am so incredibly happy tonight.

31
Aug

Halifax Discovery Centre & Peggy’s Cove (a tonne of random photos)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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30
Aug

Halifax

IMG_1524 IMG_1534 IMG_1545 IMG_1547 DSC_3155 DSC_3148 DSC_3157 DSC_3160 DSC_3162 DSC_3164 IMG_3028We drove like crazy people yesterday, stopping in New Brunswick for an amazing and carbohydrate filled lunch at Potato World.  Honestly, we needed those spuds more than they needed us.

We’ve come to the conclusion at this point in the trip that Canada is truly astonishing.  It is more rural than we could’ve imagined.  More spread out and in need of good communication than we could have dreamed.  I mean, we know these things.  In many ways, it’s what makes us Canadian.  Perhaps that friendly spirit we are famous for is because of the desolation and loneliness?  I don’t know.  Okay, maybe not ALL of Canada is quite like that, but it seems like we drive and drive and then all of a sudden, oh look!  there is another pocket of civilization.  Quite a contrast form our recent trip to China!

We’ve found friendly people everywhere.  So many are openly encouraging of our little jaunt east and the fact that we’d bring our kids large and small on a trip like this.  Just when it feels like we might really have bitten off more than we should have, we get a little bright ray of sunshine from a fellow Canadian and it brings it all back into focus.

Today was a day like that.  It started with a trip to the walk in to have Faith checked out (it appears that her lymph nodes are swollen and not to worry), followed my some monkey business from a couple of the herd.  We recouped and headed to Timmy’s for a bite before our visit to the Harbour.  We all felt a bit wiped out.  We headed to the Maritime Museum first.  Took in the exhibits about the Halifax Explosion, shipwrecks and sailors lost at sea, a dying way of life, followed by an exhibit on the Titanic.  Honestly, it wasn’t the cheeriest time we’ve had.  We were doubly tired and I had wanted to head over to one more place, Pier 21.  Doggedly  we drove down the harbour front and walked into the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.  What we didn’t know, was that our day was about to change.

We paid a small admission and headed upstairs to the exhibit.  We were greeted by a young woman with a heavy eastern european accent.  She brought out legos for the kids to build with and got us ready for a tour starting in a few minutes.  We gathered as a group with others and  were unprepared for the amazing tales ahead.

Over 1,000,000 immigrants were processed through Pier 21.  Ships from all over the world with people hoping to be admitted as Landed Immigrants.  Initially Canada had a policy of allowing only those that could be easily assimilated into Canadian society (read, white, western europeans, folks from Newfoundland  during pre-confederation (!) and Americans).  Over time, others were welcomed and the policies changed.  Tragedies occurred in the meantime.  While we had heard of the Chinese Head Tax and the ship filled with hopeful refugees from India that were held at bay in Vancouver’s harbour, we hadn’t heard of Mackenzie King’s denial of some 900+ Jewish refugees just prior to World War 2.  They were sent back to Europe.  There are records that 254 were killed in concentration camps and the other roughly 700 suffered horrible atrocities.  This formed a bit of a wake up call to the immigration policies in Canada.  There was a protectionist feeling during the depression, but post WW2, the feeling of a global connectedness formed.

Another aspect that changed the face of immigration in Canada were the War Brides and Grooms (yes – grooms, who knew?). Of the 500,000 Canadians who were involved in active service in WW2, 1 in 10 married a foreign spouse.  48,000 wife of servicemen entered Canada in the years following the war and brought with them 22,000 children.  These new immigrants brought with them a new surge of immigration in their wake.  My maternal grandparents and my Mom entered Canada around that time.

We found out that 1951 was a huge spike of immigration from the Netherlands and while it was a popular thing at that time, it was not a guarantee of entry nor was it stress free upon arrival.  I found it fascinating as we have heard stories the hardships that they faced once here, but what their first days in Canada would have been like really filled in a puzzle piece for me.  While they would have been well cared for, the confusion and simply the chaotic mess of it all would have been overwhelming and utterly exhausting after an already stressful goodbye to loved ones at home and a long steam ship ride to Canada.  No matter the provisions offered, it would have been a lot to take in.  No Google or Skype.  No guarantee of a friendly face once being given that highly prized ‘Landed Immigrant’ stamp on their passports.  A long, gruelling, expensive train trip west to major cities (in my Mom’s case, Winnipeg).

We left that tour and headed to a meeting hall filled with flags from many countries around the world and a large Canadian flag, made of puzzle pieces ,hanging as the centrepiece.  The young woman from earlier joined us.  Her name was Natalya and she, too, was newly immigrated (2.5 years ago).  She is a teacher by profession, but was given the job at Pier 21 for 6 months as a training period to gain work experience in Canada. She loves her job there and the kids really enjoyed meeting her.  Grace in particular commented how she was also a new immigrant and drew the connection to herself.

A number of people in our tour group had immigrated through Pier 21 and the guides told other stories of people who had found relatives, or even belongings, on display that belonged to themselves or a family member, while visiting the museum.  This led us to heading to the research room.  A number of guides were there to lead individuals through the process of finding information (landing records) for themselves or a relative.  I was unable to look for my family’s records.  Somehow another guide allowed Stephen to find his Oma’s.  I am not sure how!  Perhaps he made a personal plea, but my guide had told me that due to privacy laws, we would need certain proofs of family  connection.  Interesting.  I had a wonderful time looking through their bookcases of material and huge collection of fiction and non-fiction works on immigration in Canada.  So many fascinating stories.  I may or may not have added to our van’s weight today.  Books are hard to pass up.

The kids spent at least an hour on building Boxopolis.  A city of their own creation out of boxes.  A dream exhibit for a kid!

We wrapped up our day on a bright note.  After stuffing ourselves silly (no really, Isaiah has a hollow leg), we were driving along out of the Harbour district and I grabbed Stephen’s arm, “You’ve got to stop!”  What was it I saw?  A game/comic book store (Monster Lounge Comics – highly recommend it!).  There just may or may not be a couple new additions to our family’s game hoarding collection when we get home.

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Bookend vignettes from today:

Samuel loudly and with gusto told the tour guide at the beginning of our tour, “My family drove a LONG way to get here and we all hate it!”

A young docent at the end of our Boxopolis time let me know that all the staff in the museum were whispering about our family.  Apparently we were the highlight of their whole summer because working in a museum can be boring at times and the kids were so enthusiastic.

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A few more tidbits:

One of the couple’s in our group had an interesting mix.  The wife had come into Canada in the 1960’s through Pier 21, and the husband?  His family was one of the original French settlers in the 1600’s!  They live in Nanaimo, BC now.

A couple of our guides were exceptionally fascinating.  An ex-olympic figure skater (not sure which one, sorry!) was there and brought in a pairs outfit to show another guide.  One of our tour guides was a young man in wheelchair who is affected by Cerebral Palsy – he asked the best questions and was extremely knowledgable about the material.  Our guide Natalya?  She’s been in Canada 2.5 years, said goodbye to her 65 year old Mom to come here. Her Mom is sick back in the Ukraine and Natalya does not think she will be able to get back to see her before she passes.  Her Mom told her to stay.  Canada is the land of her dreams.

It still is folks.  Let’s not forget it.

 

 

29
Aug

22 years ago, I was my son

We drove from Ottawa to Riviere du Loup yesterday. On the way we drove through the little village that I lived in during the summer after high school graduation. The government had given bursaries for anglophone and francophone students to learn the others’ language. Oh Canada!

Anyway, being back there with James at the same age as I was then reminded me of everything I thought and felt and believed. Talk about a good reality check for me. 17. Interesting age.

We drove around and saw all the places I remembered. Ate at a diner that was built in 2002. I think the Poutine trailer used to sit there. :) My spoken French was not a good investment but I understood a fair bit (even things I don’t think I was meant to hear :).

We stayed at a super contemporary hotel last night that reminded James of a scary movie he’d seen. Grace and I closed out the Walmart and IGA for supplies.

Kids are still doing well. Tempers only flare when Samuel touches Isaiah or when we finally pull into a rest stop and the person desperately in need just needs oooone more second to save their game. Ha!

I plan on taking Faith to the doctor tomorrow morning. James’ computer will need a visit from a geek, as well. We’ll be in Halifax for the next few nights so hopefully we can rest for a bit from all these crazy driving days.

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